Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama is expected to discuss the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy during Wednesday night's State of the Union address, according to a top congressional leader.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, said he had no specifics, but said the president would bring up the issue during the speech. He made his comments after a news conference on Afghanistan Monday.
The "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. armed forces. The policy bans military recruiters or authorities from asking about an individual's sexual orientation, but also prohibits a service member from revealing that he or she is gay.
Obama has said he would end the policy.
The National Jewish Democratic Council questioned several Republican leaders for not speaking out against Tea Party activists who allegedly invoked strong Holocaust references at a November rally on health care. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) - The Republican Jewish Coalition called foul Monday on the National Jewish Democratic Council after the group criticized GOP leaders and an Illinois Republican Senate candidate for failing, in its estimation, to repudiate anti-Semitic rhetoric.
The NJDC wrapped its' criticism of the GOP in a statement declaring that it had "launched a 'pledge campaign' to demand that federal candidates condemn and refrain from 'abusive Holocaust rhetoric and anti-Semitic language.'"
The NJDC offered specific praise for the candidates seeking the Illinois Democratic Senate nomination, while at the same time disparaging Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, for not embracing their language. Kirk is running for the Republican Senate nomination.
"The leading Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in Illinois have committed to condemn and repudiate abusive Holocaust comparisons and anti-Semitic remarks made by anyone claiming to support their candidacy or attending any campaign events," Linda Berg, NJDC political director, said in the statement. "Where are Mark Kirk and the other Republican candidates on this important issue, and why won't they pledge to take a stand against this profoundly divisive rhetoric?"
Kirk condemned anti-Semitism in a blog entry time stamped Monday morning on his official House Web site.
"As we pause to remember the horrors of the Nazi genocide, we must reaffirm our commitment to fight anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in our day – at home and around the world," Kirk wrote in the post.
Washington (CNN) - The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee heads into the 2010 midterm elections with nearly $17 million in the bank, a Democratic official told CNN.
The committee, which is the campaign arm for House Democrats, raised $55.6 million in 2009, $3.8 million of it in December, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Crider.
The committee has $16.7 million cash on hand, but carries a $2 million debt.
Those figures do not include what Democratic candidates raised over the same period. Individual candidates and political party committees file separate campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission.
The Democratic committee's counterpart, National Republican Congressional Committee, has not yet released its final 2009 fundraising numbers.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
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CNN: Obama wants to freeze discretionary spending for 3 years
President Obama will announce in Wednesday's State of the Union address that he's proposing to save $250 billion by freezing all nonsecurity federal discretionary spending for three years, according to two senior administration officials.
CNN: CNN Poll: Has stimulus been effective?
Most Americans say that the economic stimulus plan has either helped the economy or prevented conditions from getting worse, but only a third see any personal benefit from the stimulus, according to a new national poll.
ABC News: Pay Czar Playing Hardball With AIG On Bonus Pledges
Ken Feinberg, the Obama administration's pay czar, is insisting that bailout recipient AIG fulfill pledges from its employees to return portions of their controversial 2009 retention payments, ABC News has learned.
New York Times: U.S. Envoy’s Cables Show Concerns on Afghan War Plans
The United States ambassador in Kabul warned his superiors here in November that President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan “is not an adequate strategic partner” and “continues to shun responsibility for any sovereign burden,” according to a classified cable that offers a much bleaker accounting of the risks of sending additional American troops to Afghanistan than was previously known.
Washington Post: Report says Al-Qaeda still aims to use weapons of mass destruction against U.S.
When al-Qaeda's No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called off a planned chemical attack on New York's subway system in 2003, he offered a chilling explanation: The plot to unleash poison gas on New Yorkers was being dropped for "something better," Zawahiri said in a message intercepted by U.S. eavesdroppers. The meaning of Zawahiri's cryptic threat remains unclear more than six years later, but a new report warns that al-Qaeda has not abandoned its goal of attacking the United States with a chemical, biological or even nuclear weapon.
CNN: Obama says focus is on major challenges, not boosting ratings
President Barack Obama said Monday he would continue pushing for major changes on tough issues such as health care and energy reform, even if it endangered his chances for re-election in 2012.
Washington (CNN) - Most Americans say that the economic stimulus plan has either helped the economy or prevented conditions from getting worse, but only a third see any personal benefit from the stimulus, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday morning indicates that 12 percent of the public feels the stimulus has improved the economy, with 46 percent staying it's stabilized conditions. But 22 percent of people questioned say the stimulus has had no effect on the economy and 19 percent feel it's made things worse.
"But Americans don't see the same effect on their own personal lives," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Nearly half say it has not affected them at all; just 7 percent believe that the stimulus bill has helped them while three times as many believe that the bill has hurt them personally."
According to a CNN poll released Sunday, 56 percent of the public opposes the stimulus, with 42 percent supportive of the plan. Last March, just weeks after the stimulus bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama, a CNN survey indicated that 54 percent supported the program, with 44 percent opposed.